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Simple geography, crumpled folds

Here I go, worrying about how we’d fare in a real West Coast earthquake, and then a couple of days after I leave the “back East” region, what does the Northeast do? They go and have a headline-making quake.

Oh the irony… The strongest quake I’ve ever felt was in my apartment in Brookline – a third-floor walk-up – where the forced hot-water radiators gyrated and my free-standing kitchen shelves almost dumped their load on the floor. The epicenter of that quake was somewhere near Montreal.

And now there’s today‘s 5.0 quake near Ottawa, but centered again in Quebec (in nearby Val-de-Bois).

As before, the Quebec-epicentered quake makes news as far as Boston, where it generated 911 calls as buildings wobbled: “At least two buildings in the Boston area, more than 300 miles from the epicenter, were evacuated due to concerns about the shaking.” At the end of this article there’s a helpful <sic> reference to a 2006 article about earthquakes in the Northeast. Ack.

Meanwhile, it seems to me that the Toronto Star has the best line about the event – one that characterizes something of the mental geography as well:

The simple geology of eastern Canada helped transmit the earthquake’s vibrations many kilometres from the epicentre, unlike the crumpled, mountainous geology of British Columbia. (source)

Simple geography on the one hand, crumpled geology on the other.

…Straight ahead vs folded in on itself? 😉


  1. I was amused to read about the evacuations in Boston in response to this quake. With neither the crumpled mountains of BC nor the simple geography of eastern Canada, what are we to make of our earthquakes here in California that roil and bob us, as if we were already adrift on the ocean?

    Comment by maria — June 23, 2010 #

  2. Indeed.
    Although – as I’ve learned recently – California’s more frequent (but less intense) quakes apparently are easier to live with than the saved-up energy for mega-quakes, which we’re supposed to expect (think Chile, similar situation).
    I could go on about this – but it could get too scary (eg. building codes). I’m pretty sure that if (when) we have our mega-quake, it’s going to be a right old mess… :-/

    Comment by Yule — June 23, 2010 #

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